(By request, here’s the repost of Clash 21!)
The SmarK Retro Rant for WCW Clash of the Champions XXI
– This is one of those tapes that I had totally forgotten that I even had, but found when I was moving from tape collection into my new room. For those who follow my personal life, Zen moved to Calgary to take a new job this weekend, taking his ECW collection with him, so I’m left with the apartment to myself and only a million tapes instead of 2 million. But such is life. Anyway, someone (I forget who) sent me this in 1999 and I never actually reviewed it, instead choosing to skip over the actual event and review the IWA BathHouse Brawl match that was tacked onto the end. I pulled the match review from the RSPW archive on Google and it follows the Clash review. (Not anymore. The formatting was all messed up so I just left it off.)
– Live from Macon, GA, Nov. 18 / 92.
– Your hosts are JR & Jesse.
– We start with Paul E. Dangerously cutting a promo to hype his match with Madusa tonight, which he hypes like Hogan v. Savage as though his life was on the line. Funny stuff.
– Bounty match: Erik Watts & Kensuke Sasaki v. Arn Anderson & Bobby Eaton.
The bounty in question here is on Watts’ head, as anyone who cripples or injures him gets $10,000 from Paul E. You can put me down for $10, too. Michael Hayes was easing into the role of manager at this point, taking over from Dangerously and eventually splitting Anderson & Eaton away from him. Bobby smacks Erik around and gets popped as a result. Eaton grabs an abdominal stretch, but Watts escapes and bails, then comes in again with the worst-looking attempt at a cross-body off the second rope that I’ve ever seen. Sadly, Eaton knows who the boss’s son is and sells it anyway. Eaton takes a breather and Watts’ arch-enemy, AA, comes in. They trade wristlocks and Sasaki comes in, dodging a double-team. You know, if they did a Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Crappiest Tag Teams Tournament one year and seeded the worst teams of all-time from 1-8 for byes in the first round, I’d probably put Watts & Sasaki at around #4, under the Hayes-Garvin Freebirds, Renegade Warriors, and Natural Disasters (in that order). I’ll leave my choices for 5-8 as an exercise to the reader. Sasaki overpowers Eaton and the heels regroup again. Sasaki misses a blind charge and gets dumped. Nefarious dealings on the part of Michael Hayes follow. Watts goes after Hayes, and he flees in fear. Well, of course he would. He was probably afraid Watts might dropkick him and take out his knee. Arn & Bobby pillage and plunder Sasaki while the ref is elsewhere, but Eaton gets powerslammed and Sasaki makes the coldest hot tag, to Watts, that I’ve seen in quite some time. Watts goes all 21st century innovator as he busts out the MONKEYFLIP OF DOOM on Eaton, but sadly is lacking in a partner as talented as Ricky Morton to cover for the fact that that particular move died like disco in 1982. I suppose it’s somewhat BONZO GONZO, but I feel like involving Erik Watts in the term somehow…dirties…it. Eaton goes up to finish with that devastating heel move where you land on your feet a foot short of where the babyface is, and he gets punched in the gut as a result. The idea was for Watts to punch him in mid-air, but it ended up being land, then punch, which is roughly equivalent to someone trying a jump shot in basketball by jumping, landing, and then shooting. Not quite the same, no? Erik slaps on the STF, which is somewhat of a misnomer in his case because it requires the person doing it to know how to do both a) A stepover toehold and b) A facelock, and really poor Erik was lost at anything more complex than doing a hiptoss while thinking of what to have for dinner that night, so the end result was something vaguely resembling a rear chinlock, which is Bobby is nonetheless game to sell anyway because nepotism is life and he’s just that kind of guy. He taps out at 6:08, perhaps because it was Erik’s birthday and that was his present, who knows. Have I mentioned that Erik Watts sucks recently? ½*
– From the bad to the Badd, as Johnny B. prepares for his boxing match with Scotty “One Punch Bingo” Flamingo in a bit.
– Scotty and his camp of misfits respond to Johnny, as someone who is either Don King or a greying Bull Nakano preps him in the locker room. His corner man Vinnie Vegas offers 75-1 odds from “the boys” against Flamingo actually winning, but then basically promises that they’ll cheat anyway. DDP provides the motivation in the background, answering Vinnie’s rhetorical questions about Scotty’s standing next to the greats with the appropriate kind words. Big Kev was pretty obviously on some sort of mind-altering chemical here, be it alcoholic or otherwise, and the result was a so-bad-it’s-funny promo. It’s almost too bad they never really let Nash talk more during this period, because his naturally twisted and dry sense of humor worked a lot better when he was so far down the card that he didn’t care about playing political games.
– Boxing match: Scotty “One Punch Bingo” Flamingo v. Johnny B. Badd.
Yes, this is indeed Raven v. Marc Mero in a boxing match. The heels do a Gracie-chain down to ringside, despite the fact that there’s only three of them. I’m dying watching this stuff. It’s kind of perversely entertaining watching some of this stuff, because you’ve basically got a bunch of guys like DDP and Kevin Nash who knew they had no chance at advancement and thus had the freedom to go out there and shoot their own angles because no one in management gave a damn anyway. That kind of gung-ho stupidity is sorely lacking in the neo-fascist WWF lockerroom right now, and hasn’t been seen since Edge & Christian’s offbeat shenanigans were probably stopped because they were getting bigger laughs than the main eventers. Okay, so round 1: Johnny kills Scotty dead and he bails to escape the beating. Vinnie distracts the ref, allowing a clothesline and some stomping. Scotty flails way in hilarious fashion, but gets overwhelmed again and KO’d, overselling the shot with a Curt Hennig Special job. He’s saved by the bell, so the Vega$ Connection drags his limp body back to the corner, where they blatantly soak his right glove in a bucket of water to load it up. Round 2: Scotty gets shoved back into the ring by DDP, completely unaware of his surroundings, and Badd unloads on him until Vegas distracts the ref again and Scotty sneaks in a shot with the wet glove, knocking Johnny literally halfway across the ring for the knockout, thus living up to his nickname. Short and harmless idiocy that’s well worth spending the 10 minutes or so to check out.
– Jesse & Missy Hyatt do a drawing for the Lethal Lottery tournament at Starrcade 92, picking out the first match in advance of the show. It’s Cactus Jack & Johnny B. Badd v. Van Hammer & Dan Spivey. Man, and I thought those were just the people who had fucked her that week.
– Ghetto Odds match: Cactus Jack, Barbarian & Tony Atlas v. Ron Simmons & 2 Cold Scorpio.
This was during Cactus’ managerial phase, when he was injured but still bumping for 10 guys in order to make stiffs like Barbarian look like World title contenders. Funny how that worked. The part of Scorpio was supposed to be played by Robbie Walker, Ron’s then-protégé, but he got fired or injured or something and isn’t there. This would be Scorpio’s debut in WCW and he isn’t actually named, putting JR & Jesse in a very awkward position, announcing-wise. The heels bail and Scorp nails a pescado, popping the crowd right away. Ron & Barbarian slug it out and Ron cleans house again. Scorp comes in and gets pounded by Jack, but he reverses a suplex, then gets too excited and slips on the ropes while trying a moonsault press. Jack sells it anyway, because he’s Mick Foley. Simmons pounds on Jack and facejams him, but misses a dropkick. The heels hammer on Ron for a while, but then Jack tries that same devastating move that Bobby Eaton tried in the first match, and yet again bad things result, as he runs facefirst into Simmons’ boot. Hot tag Scorp, and I can safely say that it’s BONZO GONZO! Scorp gets tossed, but heel miscommunication puts Atlas on his back and Scorpio debuts the 450 splash for the pin at 5:55, nearly blowing the roof off the place and sending JR into a near-case of heart failure. You just don’t see that sense of amazement at new moves these days, do you? The match’s only purpose was make fans cream themselves at the thought of seeing more of Scorpio, and it did that in spades. ¾*
– Into every life a little crap must fall, as Tom Zenk and Johnny Gunn (Tom Brandi) visit a men’s clothing store and get manhandled by a group of drooling saleswomen, all to the glorious strains of a “Legs” ripoff song. There was something really creepy and vaguely homoerotic about this skit that I can’t quite put my finger on, as they seemed more interested in checking each other out than the women, which probably explains why WCW’s grand plan to get them over as the big pretty boy team of the 90s never quite panned out.
– Update on Jesse’s Strongest Arm Tournament, perhaps the only shoot arm-wrestling tournament in wrestling history.
– Battle of Sexes: Paul E. Dangerously v. Madusa.
This of course stemmed from Paul’s classically chauvenistic firing of Madusa at Halloween Havoc. “Madusa” is wearing headgear that covers “her” face, and indeed Paul smashes the phone over “her” head as soon as “she” gets into the ring, only to discover that it’s jobber Mike Thor in a disguise so clever that you’d think it was Chicken Boo. Michael Hayes is indignant at this turn of events, but runs away when the real Madusa charges in and kicks Paul’s ass. He tries taking a walk, but she drags him back in, only to get tripped up by Hayes. Paul poses and hits a flying axehandle, but she no-sells it and drives some knees into his neck. She goes up with a missile dropkick, rips his pants off, and the time limit expires at 5:00. This was what it was. DUD
– King of Cable semi-final: Sting v. Rick Rude.
Ole Anderson, Hiro Matsuda and Larry Zbyszko are the special judges at ringside on the off-chance that it goes to a draw, thus guaranteeing that it goes to a draw. I’m assuming Ole had a specially-made English-to-Dumbshit scorecard to use so that he didn’t have to bug JR even two minutes to help him sound out the big words like “the”. Rude pounds away to start and swivels. Jesse wants a point for the swivels. Sting comes back with a press-slam and an exploding gutbuster, and stomps away. Jesse makes sure to note that Sting is targeting the ribs, not the abs, because the abs are made of steel and all. Sting works the ribs in the corner and mocks Rude. Jesse feels that Rude’s hip-swivelling was superior and thus Sting shouldn’t get any points for it. Too funny. Front suplex gets two. Again, and Rude is winded. Sting hammers away for two and hits the rear chinlock. Into an abdominal stretch to work the ribs, so Rude goes to the eyes to break. Jesse is, as always, proud of Rude. Rude works the back, but can’t suplex him due to the rib problems, and indeed Sting reverses and dumps Rude on the top. Rude gets crucified on the ropes, hanging over the apron, so Sting unloads with sidekicks on his ribs. Rude bails to the railing and Sting charges, and after 15 years of Sting matches I’m sure you know what happens. Back in, Rude goes up and clubs him for two. Elbow gets two. Rude goes to his own rear chinlock and wears down the back, but he’s too hurt to taunt Sting. Slam gets two. Back to the chinlock and into a suplex, but Rude can’t cover. Another slam and back to the rear chinlock. Sting comes back, but his back buckles on a slam and Rude works a cover for a few two-counts. Rude whips him from pillar to post and hits the bearhug. He rams Sting into the turnbuckle to keep things moving, but Sting fights back. Sleeper is reversed to a jawbreaker, however, and Rude blows some snot Sting’s way. SPORTSMANSHIP RULES~! Rude goes up, but Sting LAUNCHES him off the top and he comes back. Atomic drop front and back, and a bulldog gets two with 1:00 left. Sting goes up with a bodypress for two. Back up, but Rude sidesteps him. Kneelifts and Rude Awakening, but Sting blocks and hits the Stinger Splash as time expires at 20:00. So we go to the esteemed judges, and Ole Anderson: 2 votes Sting, 1 vote Rude. Sting advances. Rude wuz robbed. Real good effort here. ***1/2
– WCW World tag title match: Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes v. Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas.
Everyone was babyfaces at this point, but Windham’s face was being possessed by the Evil Goatee of Beelzebub, so expect something bad to happen. Douglas quickly cradles Rhodes for two, and Rhodes backslides him for two. Jesse is confidently predicting that someone, at some point, will cheat. That’s why they were paying him the big bucks. Shane works a hammerlock and they exchange armdrags. Shane goes back to it, as does Dustin. Dustin rollup gets two, and both go for a dropkick and miss. Neat sequence. Cool detail that you don’t notice unless you’re paying attention to that sort of thing: As Dustin comes off the ropes, Barry pulls them back a bit and then releases again to give Dustin that extra bit of momentum. Windham & Steamboat go next, and Steamboat quickly frustrates him, putting Barry into the subtle heel role. Windham gets pissed and a full-out brawl is teased. They exchange chops after everyone cools off, and Steamboat keeps on the arm. Shane & Ricky double-team Barry for two. They work the arm, and Shane suplexes him for two. Windham misses a blind charge and they keep on the arm. Steamboat sidekick gets two. Double-backdrop gets two. Douglas misses a bodypress, however, and hotshots himself on the top rope in dramatic fashion. The champs go to town, as Dustin gets a quick two count. Windham gets a dropkick for two. Rhodes elbow gets two. Shane gets a quick sunset flip for two, but the champs keep working on Douglas’ arm with a hammerlock. Rhodes gets two off it. Windham gets a vicious chop for two. Double-team clothesline gets two. Dustin hits the chinlock, but gets cross-bodied for two. Thank god SOMEONE hit that move tonight. The Texans keep on Douglas, as Windham muscles him over with a backdrop suplex for two. Lariat gets two. Rhodes works a headlock for two and keeps on the arm. Shane takes him to the corner and bodypresses him for two. Rhodes misses a dropkick, and Shane is taggin’ the Dragon. He bodypresses Rhodes for two, but gets dropkicked for two. Cradle gets two for Rhodes. Lariat gets two. They do a long criss-cross to establish that they know each other from their time as tag champs in 1991, but Steamboat goes for a leapfrog and Dustin accidentally headbutts him in the Little Dragon. Then, in a brilliant bit of continuity that no one bothers to bring up, Windham goes BALLISTIC on the apron because Rhodes refuses to take advantage, and the exact same thing happened to Barry at Starrcade ’87 against Steve Williams, where he failed to finish him and lost the match in the end. He finally tags himself in and gets two. Atomic drop gets two. That’s just not very nice. Another atomic drop as JR gets all indignant about this blatant abuse of Steamboat’s crotch, but Rhodes comes in and pulls Windham off. Amazingly, the crowd sides with WINDHAM, booing Rhodes. Windham nails him (to a face pop), but turns around and gets hit with Shane’s BELLY TO BELLY OF MOLTEN AGONY for the pin and the titles at 15:54. Now that’s how you tell a story within the context of the match and get a turn that makes sense out of it. **** Windham stands on the apron yelling out “DUUUUUUUUUUSTIN!” like he was Marlon Brando until the disgusted Rhodes returns to talk things over, at which point Windham suckerpunches him and plants him with a DDT. Barry rocked.
– Backstage, Steamboat & Douglas give the humble victory speech with the titles…until Windham blindsides them out of nowhere with a chair and lays a Texas ass-whooping on them. Man, they could have done a million things with Windham and they ended up doing nothing.
The Bottom Line: See, now THIS is a good balance of “sports entertainment”, with the stupidity confined to the lower undercard while the two main events get 15-20 minutes and a distinct lack of retarded finishes. The WWF writers should watch some of this stuff and pay attention.